Mosaic is a charity that was founded in 2007 by HRH The Prince of Wales, and currently sits under The Prince’s Charities’ umbrella and aims to inspire the minds of young people from the UK’s most deprived communities. Mosaic helps thousands of young people around the country to realise their talents and raise their ambitions through a number of different mentoring programmes.
I am personally mentoring on the Secondary School Programme at Manchester Islamic High School for Girls, working with fellow mentors to raise the aspirations of twenty young people. I was very unexpectedly sent an email just after my birthday in October from Mosaic’s Managing Director, Jonathan Freeman, a name with which I was familiar from a variety of different publications but from whom I hadn’t expected an email.
Slightly confused, I opened the email and to my surprise, I received an invitation to a private reception in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, Mosaic’s founder, to honour Mosaic mentors at the Princess Badiya Mentor of the Year Awards to be held at Sandringham House, the private residence of Her Majesty The Queen. I really did not know what to make of this, so I made contact with Mosaic’s North West Regional Manager, Nafisa Hakim to make sure that this was for real. She confirmed that it was for real.
Soon along came the 27th of November 2014, the day I was going to meet HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan of Jordan to celebrate the Mentor of the Year award.
The day started with a 5:30am alarm clock, followed by a four-hour drive to an area of the country I had never dreamed of reaching in my lifetime, let alone a couple of years after my first training session as a mentor. The journey consisted of endless packets of chocolate, music and the odd moment of yawning.
We arrived at Sandringham House Visitors Centre for roughly 11:30am. I was a pack of nerves as it finally dawned on me how close I was to visiting a Royal Residence. We boarded our coach to Sandringham House and within moments I realised that I was sat with colleagues who had been responsible for Mosaic’s success across the length and the breadth of the country. From fellow mentors, to regional chairmen, to national chairman Shabir Randeree CBE, we were all sat on the same coach ride.
We entered the grounds of Sandringham and suddenly silence broke out within the Coach; astounded in what we were about to experience. The Police presence within such a small area reminded me of a scene in a 007 movie.
I decided to take a walk to the nearest bathroom just after we arrived, and along the way I must have seen enough weapons to create a mini-Army. Sandringham House had on display the artefacts from expeditions through the world collected by the great grandfather of HRH The Prince of Wales, King George V, when he was himself The Prince of Wales. I could literally sense the importance of each room I was walking past. I could not help but imagine how many world leaders had taken the same footsteps that I was taking right there.
Half an hour of meeting fellow mentors passed when we were blessed with the opportunity of meeting HRH Prince Of Wales. As HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan were approaching the North West cluster (we were arranged in groups by our region), I stood with very wobbly knees. In my head I was nervously rehearsing a respectful bow hundreds of times within a matter of seconds.
He approached us with ‘As-salamu Alaykum’, a respectful Muslim greeting one person would use to greet another. I cannot say enough complimentary thing about my brief encounter with HRH Prince of Wales for in that short period I learned to respect him even more than I had done before. We talked for longer than I imagined. About the programme, about the area I came from and about the University degree I am studying. Each mentor had their own story to tell; each mentor was given their moment to talk to HRH The Prince of Wales.
The speeches and award ceremony began after all of the guests had met HRH The Prince of Wales. Mosaic’s Chairman Shabir Randeree CBE said a few energising words of thank you to the assembled mentors and then HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan announced that the 2014 Mentor of the Year winner was Abdin Ahmed; congratulations to him once again. HRH The Prince of Wales concluded the event with an inspirational talk, giving me nothing but motivation to strive in my life.
My journey home was another four-hour journey full of interesting conversations, yawning and the odd bit of snoring too. We arrived back in the city of Manchester just after 7pm and concluded a day to remember. If I were to go back 12 months and ask myself, where I would be in the future and the achievements I would have made I would never have imagined that in my final year of university I would be at Sandringham House in the presence of HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Princess Badiya. You simply cannot dream about opportunities like this. You just cannot. But Mosaic made it all possible.
I can only praise the organisation, the staff, the North West Regional Leadership Group and the National Advisory Board. The thought of changing the lives of the generation below me is an incredible ambition I have a lot of passion for; a passion that I am so very pleased to share with so many people involved with Mosaic. I cannot recommend the Mosaic mentoring programmes enough. Not only for what it gives to the mentee, but especially the way in which it can affect the life, and increase the experience and opportunities of the mentor – as it has done for me.
What a day.